Ian Chadband / AAP News
Aussie 7s women take the Seville 7s title with a comeback victory, while Aussie men finish with silver medal in a strong showing.
Australia’s rugby women have reinforced their Rugby 7s dominance by winning their third world series event of the season in Spain after a brilliant 17-12 comeback win in the final over Ireland.
Hopes of back-to-back triumphs in the Seville 7s for both national teams on Sunday (Monday morning AEDT), though, evaporated soon afterwards when the Aussie men went down 33-7 in the men’s final by the all-conquering South African ‘Blitzboks’.
Faith Nathan scored her seventh try of the three-day tournament with the last play of the final to earn a triumph which was hard-earned after a battling Irish side, playing in their first world series final, had raced into a 12-0 lead in four minutes.
Yet after the speedy Nathan had narrowed the gap by halftime, scooting down the right flank to score, Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Dominique du Toit proved Australia’s second-half hero, with an individual tour de force that won her the player of the match award.
Du Toit scored an incredible solo try, being brought down on the right flank but somehow scrambling to her feet and evading another tackle before ploughing over.
Then, with the scores level and the game heading for extra time, the Zimbabwe-born Queenslander launched another surging run which took her close to the line before Nathan struck for the post-hooter winner after the ball was swiftly recycled.
“It was a great final, the Irish are a fighting team but it was awesome to see our girls out there fighting just as hard right to the end until that final try,” du Toit said after collecting her award.
Nathan had earlier scored a try a narrow 21-19 semi-final win over the USA, with Tia Hinds and Maddison Levi adding the other scores.
Captain Demi Hayes was particularly delighted with the way her team bounced back just a week after having their season’s unbeaten record ended.
“We were a little bit disappointed with how we’d gone in Malaga so we really wanted to come here and get the win,” she said after the side extended their dominant lead in the series with a couple of rounds left.
The men’s hopes of ending the South Africans’ amazing two-year, 33-match winning streak evaporated when they had Josh Turner and Maurice Longbottom yellow carded in what turned out to be a one-sided final with the Blitzboks scoring five tries in response to Ben Dowling’s opener.
Earlier, they’d made the decider with a 28-12 win over Argentina, with a brace of tries from Corey Toole and others from captain Henry Hutchison and Longbottom.